Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science: The History of Attitudes to Sexuality
Roy Porter, Mikuláš Teich
CUP Archive, 1994 - Literary Criticism - 408 pages
Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science explores attempts to develop bodies of knowledge about sex from antiquity to the present day. Taking into account cognate sciences like zoology, anatomy, embryology and psychiatry, the volume analyses the shaping over the centuries of disciplines which came by 1900 to be called 'sexology'. Various contributions explore the interfaces between 'high' and 'low' sexual teachings, and the connections and tensions between popular and empirical sexual knowledge on the one hand and overtly scientific formulations. A major concern of the book is to investigate the ideological functions - in terms of group, class and gender - of sexual science, especially when incorporated into systems of legal, medical and political power. Among sexual liberals and radicals it has long been an article of faith that sexual science, sexual liberation and sexual fulfillment will all advance hand-in-hand. With the modern backlash against permissiveness, and against the background of AIDS, such views are being challenged. Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science offers historical perspectives upon such questions.
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